Licensed massage therapist Amanda Howard first conceived of Crystal Blue Health Spa for a school project, and she realized her dream with the spa's opening in 2011. In the interim, she crafted a menu of soothing spa services, including massages, body scrubs, and facials. Amanda navigates the treacherous terrain of knotted musculature during Swedish, deep-tissue, hot-stone, and aromatherapy massages, which wheedle backs into relinquishing stockpiled stress, tension, and missing socks hidden beneath shoulder blades. For surface-level pampering, the spa's resident aesthetician treats visages to deep-cleansing facials and exfoliating body scrubs. The hot-chocolate scrub emulates its wintertime namesake with a sweetly scented, warm elixir infused with Giovanni PureOrganic Technology?an essential-oil medley designed to nourish and heal wizened pelts?and the hypoallergenic tropical scrub's jojoba, macadamia, avocado, and sweet-almond oils replenish thirsty pores more effectively than dunking them in a pool of Gatorade.
At Sanctuary Salon & Med Spa, owner Pareen Merchant leads a team of beauty experts that polishes clients' looks from head to toe. Hair designers create custom cuts and restore damaged hair with conditioning treatments. To remove body hair or prune overgrown Chia pets, the staff employs laser technology and the Middle Eastern art of threading, a signature service that caught the attention of Melissa Mayntz of LoveToKnow.com. Merchant learned the technique from friends and cousins before honing her speed and brow-arching skills at a cosmetology program in India.
Massage therapists soothe weary muscles with a variety of modalities, and aestheticians brighten complexions with clinical skincare treatments, including medical microdermabrasion and Revitalight LED sessions. The salon's nail services earned a spot as a finalist in the Best Manicure and Pedicure category of CityVoter's 2007 and 2008 awards.
In 1993, Les Arthur Bauman finally realized his dreams of opening his own salon, which he called Arturo's. He had two stylists, some shears, and not much else, but he worked hard to build the business. While he got the salon up and running, his son, Jes Bauman, became the second generation of the family to pursue hair as art, pursuing an education in New York. Eventually, Jes returned to Orlando to help his father and, ultimately, to take over the studio. He renamed the business J. Bauman Salon, but he preserved the family tradition of expanding the customer base, one expertly cut head of hair at a time.
To date, Jes has accrued more than 20 years of experience and has built up a talented stable of more than 20 stylists. His team constantly snips, colors, and extends hair at 17 stations spread throughout the now-upscale salon. The decor has matured alongside the business. It blends dark hardwood floors with high ceilings fitted with bright, recessed bulbs, which are ideal for helping stylists focus on their work rather than those mysterious shadows looming in the corner.
The massage therapists at Healthy Body Massage strive to help clients better understand their bodies both mentally and physically. They work to promote a sense of wholeness and self-awareness, employing specialized modalities depending on each visitor’s particular needs. Swedish and lomi-lomi techniques may foster a deep sense of relaxation, and neuromuscular therapy and lymphatic drainage aim to encourage the body’s natural healing process. During some treatments, the staff rubs skin with moisturizing salves mixed in-house from organic coconut oils.
Massage isn’t the studio’s only soothing service: the staff also pampers its clients with other spa treatments. Facials can incorporate everything from antioxidant-rich serums to scented essential oils, and body scrubs use Dead Sea salts or organic brown sugar to gently exfoliate the skin. To help firm and tone torsos, the staff also applies wraps of natural, mineral-rich seaweed harvested from the dwelling-places of the world’s sveltest manatees.
As co-owners of Trend Studios Orlando, Matthew Bengston and Anthony Cortes have cultivated a business that reflects their own areas of expertise. Matthew brings his skills as a stylist to the hair salon, where he and his team cut men’s and women’s hair, add highlights, and lengthen locks with extensions. For his part, Anthony draws on his talents as a teeth-whitening and airbrush-tanning specialist to oversee those branches of the studio. Both Matthew and Anthony go out of their way to ensure a comfortable experience for clients: Anthony’s airbrush tans, for example, employ an Evolv. Sidekick tanning system that warms up its tanning solution before gently misting skin. For the spa services in which they do not specialize, Matthew and Anthony employ a knowledgeable staff that performs massages, waxing treatments, and a cappella renditions of the spa’s relaxing soundtrack.
The Spa's focus on customer satisfaction and relaxation has gained the staff recognition from the press, including a nod in Orlando Weekly's Best of Orlando 2011 list. Its vast menu of spa services runs a soothing gamut from traditional western massage to Dermalogica skincare treatments, as well as extravagant spa packages designed for men and women.
About once a month, or whenever the original cast of Footloose shows up, The Spa cranks up the tunes and opens up its hardwood floors for dancing during happy-hour spa parties. The themed shindigs pair lavish massages or facials with a nightclub ambiance of cocktails and activities such as gambling tables or oxygen bars.